Condemned tree is preserved

PUBLISHED: 13:12 26 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:13 15 June 2010

AXMINSTER residents are calling on East Devon District Council to give them permission to have a tree chopped down fearing it could fall down and cause injury or death.

AXMINSTER residents are calling on East Devon District Council to give them permission to have a tree chopped down - fearing it could fall down and cause injury or death.Large limbs have already fallen from the cedar tree at Cedar Gardens, startling residents and raising alarm that more could follow - with serious consequences.Despite recommendations by two tree surgeons to fell and remove the tree, as it is beyond its useful life, EDDC has put a preservation order on it preventing anyone from 'cutting down, topping or lopping' the tree. David Cutler, of Barclary and Cedar Ltd, said: "This could have hurt somebody. They are generally elderly residents here - and where would they run to for cover?"Does EDDC want the responsibility of somebody's death on their hands?"The subject is particularly close to Mr Cutler's heart, as his friend Mark Fensom was killed last year after a tree, which had been condemned but not removed, fell on him.Representative of Cedar Gardens' residents Richard Coward said: "We wrote to the council four months ago and said, in view of the tree surgeons' report, and in light of where everybody walks around, it was dangerous."Resident Mary Rome, 99, said: "I heard a terrific thud and didn't know what had caused it."It scared me. The tree looks completely rotten and I think it's very dangerous."A spokesperson for EDDC said: "The responsibility of tree management lies with the landowner, regardless of the tree's protected status."Now that we are aware of the situation our arboricultural officer will undertake a site visit and will advise on the most appropriate course of action.

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